Major and Minor in Professional Writing

As you might guess, both our majors and minors begin with an "Introduction to Professional Writing." In this course, you are introduced to the basic concepts of the major and given a sense of what your courses will be like over the next few years. After that, the requirements for the major and the minor diverge. We've made our professional writing minor as wide open as possible to accomodate the broad range of writing interests and needs among college students. Our professional writing major, though it has more requirements, is equally designed to give our majors a breadth of writing experiences while also having the opportunity to focus on a specific area of the writing industry.

the major

After that, you take one required course in each of the four core areas of our program: Rhetorical Theory (PWR 399: Rhetoric), New Media (PWR 209: Writing in Cyberspace I), Professional Writing (PWR 393: Technical Writing) ,and Creative Writing (a choice of three different courses). These required courses are intended to give you a broad understanding of the field of professional writing, as well as experience writing in many different genres and media.

It's likely that you'll take these courses in your sophmore or junior year. You'll also take Revising and Editing, important skills for all writers. Then you'll move on to your elective courses in Professional Writing. With these 9 credits you can either specialize in one of the core areas or spread them across our curriculum. During this time you'll also be taking your courses in English and Philosophy. As part of the English department, we see ourselves closely aligned with literary study, particularly the skill of "close reading," which we hope you will practice in these courses. However, rhetoric is also a branch of philosophy, and we believe it is important that all writers have a strong sense of ethics as they leave college.

Finally, you'll take your Internship and finish with the Senior Seminar. Your internship will give you real world experience as a writer and could possibly lead to a job. The Senior Seminar completes the program and focuses on the production of a professional portfolio of your writing that you can take with you as you move intor your career.

Here's how our major looks in the catalog:

34 credit hours
Required Courses: 25 Credit Hours
PWR 295: Introduction to Professional Writing
PWR 209: Writing in Cyberspace I (4
PWR 393: Technical Writing
PWR 395: Revising and Editing
PWR 399: Rhetoric
PWR 495: Internship in Professional Writing
PWR 497: Senior Seminar in Professional Writing
One course in creative writing: PWR 213 (Poetry), PWR 212 (Fiction), or PWR 315 (Creative Nonfiction).

At least 9 additional hours of elective Professional Writing courses, six hours at the 400 level

English Courses: 9 credit hours with at least 6 credits at the 300-level or higher
Philosophy Course in Ethics: PHI 203, PHI 240 or PHI 382


the minor

Required Courses: 3 credit hours
PWR 295: Introduction to Professional Writing

Fifteen elective credit hours in PWR with a minimum of nine credit hours at the 300-level or higher.


As you can see, we have tried to make it as open as possible, requiring only Introduction to Professional Writing (which you were going to take anyway, right?).

Our thinking in this design is as simple as the requirements. We know that there are many kinds of writing and many reasons for wanting to study writing. We want to give every student a chance to chart their own course. This doesn't mean we'll leave you adrift; we are happy to provide advice to our minors. We see them as an important part of our community.

Some of our minors might want to focus on professionalizing courses that will help them be better writers on the job. Some might have an interest in new media, or be majoring in one of the College's other new media programs, and want to study that area. Many other minors are primarily interested in taking creative writing courses.

This minor is designed to meet such diverse interests and goals.

On a slightly different note, we know, as you probably do, that there is growing concern about the writing ability of Americans. Letters have been sent to the Presidents of all universities and colleges, including our own, asking them to do more to improve writing. Minoring in Professional Writing means averaging one writing course each semester starting in your sophmore year. It's a way that you can continue to improve as a writer under the tutelage of a professor in the field and within a community of students who care about writing.